Wrong body of murdered tourist returned to UK from DomRep

Antoinette Ede from Hilton Road said she was 'appalled and upset' to learn the body brought home was not her mum's.

Denise D'Courtenay, 60, a millionairess strip-club owner from London, was stabbed to death in July. The killer has not yet been found.

Mrs Ede, who is 42, was awaiting her mum's repatriation last Monday — seven weeks after her decomposing body was found in bushes on a beach on the Caribbean holiday island's north coast.

Mrs Ede's sister Naomi went to identify the body, only to find out it wasn't their mum.

Believing the body would be flown back in time, the family had organised a funeral for September 29.

Mrs Ede said: "We were fighting for weeks to get the body home and now they've sent us the wrong body.

"When my sister went to identify her they had completely the wrong woman. It's not my mum. The whole thing is an outrage."

Mrs Ede said she was relieved she fought off pressure from investigators to have the body cremated.

"They wanted to cremate her before flying her over. If we'd said yes to the cremation then we might not have realised we had the wrong body.

"It raises so many questions. Is the next body they fly over going to be my mum's, or have they got it?

"It also means another family is missing somebody and they haven't even been informed that their relative was flown to England. It's a disgrace."

Mrs Ede was brought up by a foster family in South Devon, but remained close to her mum who owned the Queen Anne strip-club in Vauxhall, South London, a popular haunt of footballers, soap stars and rappers.

Mrs Ede previously told the Herald Express: "She went on holiday and her flight home was cancelled. When she didn't get on the replacement flight my aunt got worried and reported her missing.

"I then got a phone call to say that Mum had been stabbed to death and left in the bushes."

Ms D'Courtenay had been holidaying on the island for 20 years and owned three apartments there.

Investigators claim to have identified Ms D'Courtenay by her tattoos, but the body which was flown home — that of a blonde-haired women with tattoos — is not the right one.

Mrs Ede said: "I don't know what to do or where to go. The worst thing is that I haven't grieved yet because I was trying to get mum home."

Mrs Ede and her family had been told by investigators not to travel to the Dominican Republic for their own safety.

"It makes you feel hopeless, because what can we do from here?" she said, adding that she wanted to raise awareness of the issue to prevent the same thing happening to other families.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of a British woman in the Dominican Republic and we are providing consular assistance to the family.

"Police in both the UK and the Dominican Republic will be investigating the matter of the repatriation," he said.

By laura dale ldale@heraldexpress.co.uk

 Read also: Too many tourists killed in the Dominican Republic

Go back | Date: 15 Sep 2010
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